Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Opinion or Truth

     My given birth name was Suzanne. When we first migrated to the United States, my father took me; a child then; on an errand. During the elevator ride, an older gentleman took an interest in us. He asked my name. I proudly stated, “Suzanne.” He replied, “Oh no, Suzanne isn’t an American name. Susan is.” My father took the cue and proceeded to change my name. There was confusion in the beginning for we did not know if it was spelled with a z or s as in Suzan or Susan. Everyone decided on Susan.  There are some who still insist on calling me Suzanne. They usually do not illicit a response since this name is foreign to me. 

     It starts with a thought. Someone would express his thought of you. You listen to it, think about it, and believe it. Then it manifests in your life. Pam told Sam that he was a failure and would not succeed at anything. Sam recalls all of the times he actually failed and agrees with Pam. He, then, seals his fate. Failure has become the pattern of his life. And the opposite is true. Let’s say that Pam tells Sam that he has creative energy and he can create anything. If he accepts that word, it seals his fate. Becoming a creative person becomes the pattern of his life. 

     We see it all the time with children and adolescents. They are susceptible to others’ opinions especially their peers. They are in the process of exploring and knowing their identity. If they do not have enough positive feedback from the ones who matter the most, family, then they may be inclined to believe everything they hear. 

     Has this ever happened to you? Someone would state an opinion of you and you’d subconsciously apply it to your life? It does not matter if the opinion expressed is truth or not. If we believe it, it becomes truth for us. If you received positive feedback, kudos! What if it was negative feedback? Do not fret, my friend. It is not the end of the world. It really does not matter what others think of you. It matters what God thinks of you. He loves you very much that He sent His Son to die in your place. When He rose again, He gave you life everlasting which starts here on earth. Does that relieve you of any responsibilities? Of course not. We are still responsible for our thoughts. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV. What if you get the thought that you are a failure? Just speak words of blessings over yourself such as you were made in the image of God. He instilled in you everything you need to be successful. You just need to discover the depth God created in you by spending time with your Savior in prayer and studying the Bible. Then you will see that He blessed you so you can be a blessing. Have you blessed someone today? 


The Faith Chapter - Hebrews 11 NIV

      Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.
      By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
     By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
     By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
     By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
     By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.  And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
      All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
      By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,  even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
      By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
      By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
      By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
     By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
     By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.  By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
     By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
     By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
     By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
     And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets,  who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,  quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—  the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
      These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

I Corinthians 13 - The Love Chapter

    If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

   Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

   And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.